In this piece, WeTrack's Commercial Director Eric Solem considers the new challenges facing event operators and venue managers as they begin to re-open their events and venues in some parts of the world.
The roar of the crowd is missing from our lives at the moment, but it is coming back. The sports, events and hospitality world are beginning to come out of the forced COVID hibernation, so let us look at what that means for how we operate those businesses going forward, and the new challenges that we face.
We know that there is going to be a so-called 'new normal' for how we operate events. There are increasingly positive signs that give hope. The recent successful test events held in Liverpool under the UK Government's Events Research Programme have gathered data from multiple sources to understand what measures will be needed going forward. Although we do not yet have published guidelines, we must prepare for new policies and procedures, to which our industry will need to adapt. This will mean collecting and managing more data - and with more data comes the challenges of how to communicate and act upon what the data tells us.
This brings new challenges for control rooms and operations centres, who need to prepare for what is to come. It is highly likely that we will have to prove that we know who has attended an event, so the current push towards mobile digital ticketing will only accelerate. PCR testing might be mandatory for many events. How is that challenge to be tackled? Is every large event going to effectively require a Test, Track and Trace data set to be managed by...who? Box office staff and control room managers do not typically work with public health agencies. This brings an enormous increase in risk management and mitigation issues for major events.
How are control rooms and PMOs going to address these new challenges? The Scottish Government has published an Events Operational Guide which includes a lengthy checklist of new procedures. It's clear that digital, not manual, systems need to be in place to manage the volume of new information required. These are complex projects that require easy-to-use systems for a large number of diverse stakeholders. The planning, set-up, pre-event checks and incident management must be digitised, not only to deliver a seamless event but also to document, with a single source of truth, how incidents have been handled.
Event management is full of moving parts and the additional complexity involved in post-COVID event planning will require tools to meet that complexity.
WeTrack's suite of control software
Our event control room software helps you plan properly before an event and deliver efficient and secure operations on event day. Build out your contingency plans, incident checklists, venue checks and more beforehand, and give your team the tools to record, resolve and report on your incidents, checks and run sheets when you go live. Now more than ever, best practices in these operations will save you time, money and risk.